Job Maestro: Volunteer and Connect!

Many of us volunteer to make a difference in our communities. But the Job Maestro found out from Michael Fallon, ’75 Teaching Credential, that getting involved can be a win-win-win experience. The co-director of San Jose State’s Center for Community Learning and Leadership explains how volunteering and service-learning can enhance your career by getting you triple-connected.

Connect with your network

Fallon says: Examine what I call your “social capital matrix.” What are all the ways you are connected? You’re not just connected at work. You’re connected to school, to clubs and organizations, and through your volunteer work. Volunteering, in particular, puts you out to the community, even if your full-time job is not in your field. Remember: When you’re looking for a job, it’s not what or who you know. It’s who knows you.

Connect with your virtual neighborhood

Fallon says: Get involved in your own neighborhood. There’s a growing virtual community out there. The best website that connects neighbors—and develops social capital because people are working together for a common cause—is nextdoor.com.

Connect with yourself

Fallon says: Do you know who you are? What are your skills, values and professional motivations? Whenever you’re volunteering or engaged in service-learning, make time to reflect—and even keep a journal—on what you hope to learn and what the experience means you. Learn how to speak objectively about the goals of the organizations you serve and about how you’ve grown from the experience.

In addition to working at the Center for Community Learning and Leadership, Fallon also teaches the sociology capstone course at San Jose State. Get more career advice and tools from the SJSU Career Center.

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